Further cementing its status as Nintendo’s most successful mobile game to date, Fire Emblem Heroes has led Nintendo’s race to the billion-dollar revenue mark on mobile (via Sensor Tower). The game’s $656 million in player spending, which includes players on both iOS and Android, has accounted for 61 percent of Nintendo’s over $1 billion in mobile revenue.
The next two highest-grossing Nintendo titles were Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, which has accounted for 12 percent of all user spending among the company’s mobile games, followed by Dragalia Lost at 11 percent.
Fire Emblem Heroes is a free-to-play game that lets players spend real money inside the app once they download it. Most of Nintendo’s apps have followed this structure, except for Super Mario Run, which requires players to pay $9.99 to see the full game. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Super Mario Run, which remains Nintendo’s most-downloaded title with 244 million downloads, contributed a smaller share of overall revenue at 7 percent.
While its 2016 earnings from Super Mario Run amounted to a modest $26 million, it was in February 2017, with the hugely successful launch of Fire Emblem Heroes, that Nintendo found its mobile footing. Despite being lower ranked in terms of downloads share, the financial success of Fire Emblem Heroes—which boasts average revenue-per-download of $41—suggests that Nintendo has hit upon a winning formula with the gacha model.
Nintendo’s experimentation with other models of monetization, such as subscriptions in Mario Kart Tour and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, have fallen short of the financial successes of its other titles. However, Sensor Tower reports that, collectively, the publisher earned more than $350 million from its mobile offerings last year, and further experimentation with monetization models is likely to grow that total, along with new releases later in 2020.